by Dr. Bharati Dalal
Professor of Pathology, GAIMS, Bhuj
Note: None of my poems have any reference or resemblance to any person, dead or alive. They are all, purely figments of my imagination. Last update: 31st Jan 2017
My parody described in the words of a Reed Sternberg cell :
Look at my nuclei only with thine eyes,
and I will pledge with mine;
Just depend on those round "owl's eyes",
and Hodgkin's Disease will be thine !
Thanks for the week-end rant;
Neither Medical College B J, nor Medical College Grant
has a 3 years course to PhD grant,
in how to handle colleagues or patients playing truant !
While we are adept in assessing microscopically, alcoholic liver injury,
they are confabulating alcoholics committing perjury before a grand jury;
While we are wedded to histopathology of specimens removed at autopsy or surgery,
they are dedicated to commit crimes like copying and forgery;
While we using critical knowledge try our best to life of patients resuscitate,
they are not hesitant for a minute, to lives of people manipulate;
While we are engrossed in studying the dreaming centre in pons varoli,
they are engaged in shattering the dreams of thousands by launching schemes ponzi;
While we are, in deciphering the science of colours of HP slides, taking delight,
they turn others' facial colours from rosy to pale ashy without any conscience-bite;
While we are plotting graphs and calculating different ratios,
they are knitting plots and plans, sipping coffee on their patios;
While we establish and administer diligently for social service, blood banks,
they watch minutely several crime-thrillers to learn to execute how to heist banks;
While we take stringent measures to prevent, from donors, infection transmission,
they take such steps which compel persons to take blood transfusion;
While we study steadfast colours of nuclei and cytoplasm to malignancy decide,
they change colours as fast as chameleons, behind bushes which hide;
While we deal daily with Diamed, Abbott, Roche and Corning,
they pretend to act like abbotts but think diabolically each and every morning;
To cut a long story short, I end this verse thus ---
we are we and they are they, however GOD made us.
While we are hotly discussing in gastric carcinoma, the role of Gram negative rods,
they are coolly calculating how best to perpetrate deceptions, scams and frauds;
While we are, a specimen of sleeve gastrectomy carefully examining, they are, after murderous decapitation, up their sleeve laughing;
While we are like Mahatma Gandhi, of "plain living and high thinking" believers,they are of mindless violence, riots and mayhem, deliverers;
While Rudyard Kipling wrote "East is East & West is West and the twain shall never meet",
yours truly writes " Good is good & evil is evil and the twain shall never compare or compete".
WHAT IS THIS LIFE IF NOT A BATTLE FOR FOUR BOTTLES ?
As an infant in the cradle, he wailed loudly at mom for a milk bottle;
as a teenager on tennis court, he yelled angrily at the attendant for a water bottle;
as a distraught husband/father, he begged the barman meekly for a whisky bottle;
as a cirrhotic with bleeding varices, he moaned weakly at the PATHOLOGIST
for a blood bottle!
PS: BATTLE alliterates with BOTTLE and FOR alliterates with FOUR
Disparity is a feature in every walk of life,
producing a lot of stress, struggle & strife;
But when it affects your hard-earned pay,
it causes perforation of your peptic ulcer, I say !
I am not writing this, to my ego inflate,
but my day ends daily after midnight late,
reading PATHOLOGY to keep myself up to date,
and nobody serves me dinner ready on a plate !
PS ---- so how do you, my little verse rate ?
[ Reply by Dr. Shubhangi -
All your verses that I have read up to date,
Have indeed been really great!
But for your lovely lines, sometimes , we have to patiently wait!
You should pen your words more frequently and not only when there are debates! ]
Even if you consider this poem utterly nonsense,
please bear with me for the reminiscence;
My next door neighbour Girish Shah, before three decades,
with our houses seperated only by iron palisades,
used to often have repeated attacks of renal colic,
for which I was called in, to give injection antispasmodic;
The sheer sight of him rolling on the floor in horror,
made me shiver with anguish and terror;
and as I told his wife Usha, a very kind lady,
I was grateful to God for not giving me such a malady !
Less than a decade later, he developed chronic intestinal obstruction,
for which he underwent at Harivallabh hospital, a resection;
and though the preoperative diagnosis was ?tuberculosis,
on histopathology it turned out to be Crohn's disease;
Hitherto undiscovered HCV, the ultimate complication,
possibly acquired by an improper blood transfusion,
was the cause for casualty, which converted his state diseased,
to the final and fatal state deceased !
PS: The association between Crohn's disease and renal lithiasis is well known.
A POEM A DAY KEEPS THE ENNUI AWAY !
I am, from an early age, a voracious reader,
and from my teenage, a sagacious poetry writer ;
and though I could not become, of the Board of Studies, Director,
I could make it up to the level of and remain for three decades, a Professor !
PS : For how He made me, I can not enough thank my Creator !
International Pathology Day
Many thanks for the image Dr Anshu Goel.
sent in anticipation of the approaching Noel;
If you remain for a lifetime, to Pathology loyal,
your faithfulness will be appreciated by the College Royal
MY GLORIOUS PAST
Those were the days, when I was deeeeeply in love,
with none other than the great Charles Dickens;
and though very timid & shy, like a dove,
I highly admired him for his Great Expectations !
Those were the days, when I was deeeeeply in love,
with Nature's blessed, bountiful, beauty;
nimbling a sandwich under a tree in a grove,
as I lay with my toddler son on my knee !
Those were the days, when I was deeeeeply in love,
with my dissertation, begging Kalapi, for faster typing;
As a Resident Pathologist preparing tea on a stove,
and sending V. cholerae isolates to CRC, Calcutta for phage-typing !
Those were the days, when I was deeeeeply in love,
with Indian Classical Music's raagas and raaginis;
I considered them all, my jewels in a treasure trove,
the source of my ecstacies, and my eternal sanginis !
Those were the days when I was deeeeeply in love,
with romantic feature films, both English and Hindi;
Roman Holiday, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and by jove,
Aawaara, Aah, Barasaat, Shree 420, Yahudi, Madhumati and Aandhi !
PS : Kalapi was the clerk at BJMC who was typing my dissertation on Cirrhosis of liver.
Posted on 22 May 2015
A Tribute to Dr C I Jhala, ex-Professor of Pathology & Dean, B J Medical College, Ahmedabad, who passed away in January 2012
IN REVERED MEMORY OF A DEPARTED TEACHER
Your official name was Chandrakant Ishwarlal Jhala,
but we junior staff, nicknamed you, " the strict disciplinewala",
terrified & panicked as we ran along the corridors & laboratories,
of Pathology Department, BJMC, in the early nineteen seventies !
Soft, though not sweet always, was your stern but stimulating speech;
Silent, though not swift always, was the way in which behaved your feet,
as you crept in quietly, in the Department's room number five,
where we sat in a caucus, listening to the cricket match broadcast live !
I remember very distinctly, the way in which you scolded me,
when being an overworked new mom, posted in Histopathology,
I could not complete in time, the chores of regular data entry,
in the insanifying International Indexing Cards & the tormenting Tumour Registry !
Shuddering in my shoes, as I appeared in the viva for MD,
I faced your barrage of questions including the one on rct-40;
& in the etiology of hepatoma, the role of alcohol & aflatoxin,
& the various methods to produce rabies' live attenuated vaccine !
The deep interest in Academics, which you set an example for,
was imbibed avidly by our young minds, searching always for more !
People know not, how deeply you made impressions on our mind,
by your steadily encouraging behaviour, most generous & kind !
Your penchant for thoroughly examining, the thorax, thyroid, & thymus,
in perinatal-death post-mortems, was a subject we would often discuss,
during lunch-breaks & tea-breaks, as this was our master stroke,
to get some free entertainment, being often financially quite broke !
Today, in my solitude when I sit & think of all these ,
& many many more sweetly painful, nostalgic memories,
my mind fills with grief & my heart with deep agonies,
as I pray to GOD, "Please, let his soul rest in peace !
A verse to Dr. Jyoti in response to her crisis
One setback however big, in life, should never one's confidence shake,
One dark cloud passing overhead, does not a long, dark night make;
"God closes one door, but opens another," the old proverb does say,
So why not to God, day & night, very humbly & sincerely pray?
Indomitable spirit is the true essence, of a livable, worthy life,
Learn to convert drawbacks into assets, don't wield a murderous knife !
Make Sudha Chandran your role model, from her only take inspiration,
imbibe her strength, absorb her will & very firm determination !
Let the world make assumptions or drag your name, deep into a mire,
There will be atleast some good hearts who will your skills admire;
Tongues wag & eyebrows rise, even if you so much as breathe quietly,
when you're educated, independent & earning, if only for your family !
But strive on, stride on, strike on, struggle, get stressed for your soul's upliftment;
No progress was ever made by the world, living a life of contentment.
The minute you shine above the ordinary, run of the mill, & mundane,
a thousand fingers will point at you, find faults, all imaginary & arcane !
Nobody ever left the world, taking as much as a piece of string,
yet everyone thinks, that never to autumn will ever in life change his spring !
Kings & queens & earls & lords have all gone on the same path last & final,
Only those who leave some fragrance behind, shall remain in our minds, immortal !
My earliest creations written at the age of 17. The first one won the first prize in the poetry section of our
college magazine at B J Medical College, Ahmedabad, in 1963.
The second one prompted a response from a person who identified himself as Dr Dave,
I think, as I sat reading in the library, a few months later.
He said he was the Head of Family Planning Department & would I mind if he used my poem for propaganda of his department.
AN UNHAPPY DREAM (1963)
With hollowed cheeks & sunken eyes,
the beggar girl looked at me;
in a faint, faraway, weakly voice,
“May God bless thee!” said she!
Promptly I turned away my head,
& stared at a distant tree;
in a fainter voice, the mitely maid,
pitifully persisted with her plea!
There was nothing to look, where now I stared,
but a crow on a leafless tree;
But still I stared & stared & stared,
avoiding the voice persuading me!
I closed my eyes & curled my lip,
from sheer pride & disdain;
from a dirty tin she took a sip,
& looked at me in great pain!
Suddenly I saw my own little girl,
whom I’d lost since years three,
My darling baby, my sweettheart, my pearl,
smiling from the leafless tree!
I felt as though I was in a trance,
because dead & gone was my Chameli;
With a catch in her voice, an appeal in her glance,
“May God bless thee,” said she!
I lifted up the child & clasped to my breast;
She gave out a frightened scream;
The sun had already gone down in the west;
Oh! What an unhappy dream!
MRS. BROWN (1963)
Dear Mrs Brown is a pitiful sight,
with half a dozen children who put her in a plight;
Three on one side & three on the other,
they make it difficult for her to keep the number!
No sooner Mrs. Brown stops for a chat,
one runs to the right & one to the left;
Starting to walk, with the chat finishing,
Dear Mrs Brown beholds the two missing!
A leap to the right & a grab to the left,
bring the two back, but the other four have left!
Dear Mrs Brown gives a sigh & a scream,
& runs after the four, like a schoolgirl trim!
With all the six culprits collected together,
Dear Mrs brown pants her way after!
Please do not commit the grave error,
of thinking me to be charming or pretty;
My face certainly does not strike terror;
But neither am I, a queen of beauty!
I'm deeply involved in the Medical Sciences,
& I've read thousands of books;
So remove from your mind, whatever biases,
you have for me, from my looks!
Appearances they say, are quite deceptive,
But I'm too artless to deceive;
I know not coquetry, & am only receptive,
to sober ideas & words you may give!
Human being after all, is a social animal,
& I'm sure you consider me human;
My necessities are a bare minimal,
& to talk to you, is one!
Whether dressing in toilet, or travelling in a train,
my mind in poetry goes deep;
Except phrases & clauses, nothing enters my brain,
I think, read, write, even in my sleep!
Well versed am I, in social etiquette,
knowing all finesse & formality;
So why not we meet, on a table, tete-a- tete,
& let me prove my credibility!
Please fear me not, I'm not unreasonable;
No undue demands shall I make;
If you listen with patience, my sorrowful tale,
I'll treat you with icecream & cake!
My husband passed away last year on 14th June after a protracted illness. This
poem was written at that time when memories of nearly 45 years of our
association overwhelmed me !
ON HIS DEATH (30/06/2008)
Moment passes, & memory lingers;
Time flies & slips through our fingers;
Heart weeps in agony & eyes shed tears,
for those whom we loved, who departed --those dears!
Life will never be the same again!
Who will understand our loss, our pain?
The winds, the skies, the clouds & the rain,
will forever & ever , the same remain!
Each morning, the Sun will, in the same way rise;
Who cares, except kin, who is born & who dies;
Life is a journey full of sorrow & sighs,
where knots are formed & severed are ties!
Forty five years is a long association;
Memories galore, like drops of an ocean,
throbbing wounds for which there are no lotion;
Heaviness of the heart is the only emotion!
The mind is blank, & benumbed are senses;
Images, like ghosts, flit about in dances;
Voices are heard saying, Brety, Brety,
prompting me to reply, Sweetie, Sweetie!
Who will call now, Brety, can you come here,
Who will tease, will jest, will joke, will jeer,
Who will stare long, with a look quite queer,
Who will pat my hand seeing in my eye a tear?
Let the heartbeats forever cease,
Let the lips be silenced in a permanent lease,
Let the mortal body disappear in ease,
God, only let his soul rest in peace!
TO A LOTUS
Oh Lotus! Oh Lotus! Oh Lotus!
So pure, white & divine!
Born in a mire, or muddy waters,
your splendour is all the more fine!
As I walk by the lonely lakeside,
in a poignant & pensive mood,
you rise with the waves on a tide,
to greet me & my solitude!
When from the distant Eastern skies
the cold chilly winds blow,
you bow down with grace, not cries,
to maintain your lustre & glow!
Whether trapping the flirting bumblebee,
or teased by an elephant mad;
Whether offering a seat to Deity Laxmi,
or torn out by a mischievious lad,
your radiance & charm never abate,
be there miseries, misfortunes, disaster;
To mighty heavens have you opened my gate,
I shall remember you ever after!
My love is like the blooming lotus,
staggered & shaken by bitter wind;
However turbid or torrid the waters,
My love remains calm & still!
My love is like the gushing cascade,
that rushes to meet the sea;
Struggling to make a mad escapade,
My love remains, a silent plea!
My love is like the homely fireplace,
that warms up my cold, dark, room;
Crackling 7 burning with a smiling face,
My love shines like a full moon!
My love is like the bright, blue, brook,
that shimmers in golden sunlight;
swirling & streaming in corners & nook,
My love forges ahead on the path right!
My love is like the sunny sunbeam,
that peeps from the leaves of the pine;
Dancing & prancing like shadows in a dream,
My love remains a silver line !
(1) Sitting on flowered tapestry,
you read my (childish) poetry;
------ And fled the country!
(2) Whirled & swirled the weathervane;
Crashing down came the window pane;
------ There was a mighty hurricane!
(3) I want to meet you,
& reveal my love, respect, gratitude,
which is long due ---- thank you!
(4) The fellow was dejected;
Rum & whisky were ingested;
------- The coroner's inquest requested!.
The woods are lonely, thick & dark;
From the yonder pine trees, I hear a lark,
singing sweet melody, stand still & hark;
Kindling flames of agony, this tiny spark.
The setting sun does shadows cast;
Some flitting moments which shall last;
Lingering on, like a haunted past;
Then suddenly dying, in the darkness vast.
Ho! Ho! the shivering shadows cry,
from leaves of pine trees, against the sky;
Ho! Ho! the eerie echos reply,
taunting & screaming, as they roll by !
The darkness of the woods in part,
matches that inside my heart;
where torture, gloom, & sorrow dart,
like splashes of colour, in modern art!
Alone, the narrow paths I tread;
Crushing dry leaves, the trees have shed;
Faltering, stumbling, miserable, uncared;
Out of the woods, with Almighty overhead
TO, A FRIEND.
With warmth in your heart & glow in your eyes,
meet me once, but touch me not;
Before it ends, let me form new ties,
Life is, with so many dangers fraught!
Camaraderie, not courtship, is what I seek;
Yearn my ears for pledge, not praise;
From men like you, who've reached their peak,
soft glances shall only, my spirits raise!
I’ve reached mental heights, summits, pinnacles,
From where I can not now come down;
But Fate has opted on me to turn the tables,
& thrash me with frenzy, fury, frown!
Coming events cast their shadow,
in scorching noons or tranquil twilight;
What Destiny holds for me, dear fellow,
depends on your discretion, foresight !
I'd longed to see a new horizon;
to sail Life's solemn maine unhurt;
But Lady Luck, to betray me, has chosen,
from cloud nine, I've been thrown down into dirt!
Plead then, my friend, for my lost ground,
& help me get what I deserve;
In Life's long voyage what treasures I’ve found,
pray allow me, in my soul to preserve !
ON MY DEATH
When my life is spent, my friend,
grieve not, for death is not the end;
The glow we leave, for ever shall last;
Our names shall haunt fron the distant past!
“Here lived a soul,” all the women will say,
“Never enjoyed gossip, & had her own way;”
“A manly woman, though efficient & able,”
the men will murmur, on the coffee table!
Some may sigh & some feel grief;
Some may smile & some feel relief;
Some may be pained, & some may weep;
I’ll miss all this, for I’ll be asleep!
From this world of chaos & calamity,
where people fight & wars rage since eternity,
over power, money, love & infidelity,
I’ll pass into a world of peace & serenity!
Death is an experience quite worth having;
Alas! We can’t have it while we’re yet living;
God only knows, it’s something we’re missing!
I wish I could be dead while living & alive while dying!
TO A CARDIOLOGIST
Seeing you, my pulse does bound;
Blood rushes along my veins;
Accentuated gets my first heart sound;
& shorter the diastolic phase !
Hearing your soft voice murmur,
my ECG shows an ectopic beat;
The atrium goes aflutter,
when I see you, so simple & sweet !
Touching your hand with lips mine,
shall give me a systolic thrill;
Regards, respect & reverence do shine,
on the monitor screen of my treadmill !
Reading this, if your feelings do ECHO,
the eddies & currents in my heart,
just check your pulse in your Seiko,
& in the drama, play your part !
On 23rd March 2003, if I remember correctly, when I was working in Jeddah, KSA,
India lost the World Cup Final to Australia. All Indians were dejected.
As the media analysed & highlighted for days to come, the cause was that captain Saurav Ganguly chose
to field after winning the toss. I wrote a poem on that day expressing my deep frustration.
But after a few days I repented my outburst & wrote an apology. Please forgive me for some nasty words written in the first poem.
Here are the two creations :
AN OUTBURST 23/03/03
At the very outset, I politely pray for your pardon,
for using some really foul language jargon
in this poem; because I’m very much upset;
& not merely because I lost a big bet!
But because the two familiar, famous “esses”,
behaved like a pair of utterly stupid “asses”,
& threw away a life-time opportunity in the air,
bringing to billion hearts, dejection & despair!
My comprehensive capacity is at a complete loss
to understand, why, having won the toss,
they opted for fielding, & gave a big chance,
to the mighty kangaroos, to run, hop, skip & prance!
Hitting the ball high, over the four boundaries,
they put the poor Indians into terrible quandaries,
who once they lost heart, experienced wretchedness
& the downhill course became, rapid & relentless !
Like all of Life’s events, cricket is a matter of luck,
Where one can score a century, or get out for a duck;
But to willingly give a chance to your worthy opponent
is like digging your own grave, thinking death is imminent!
One has to live Life, as it comes, day by day,
& has to strike the ball, as it comes during the play ;
once you’re confident that you know the game well,
you’ve to concentrate on the ball, & not run pell-mell !
Once you’re on the field, there’s no time to think;
No time to take a bite, or to sip a drink;
Once you’re in the arena, you’ve only got to act ;
Your moves are only reflex actions, that’s a well known fact!
Between “win” & “loss” is a thin line border,
separating competence, from chaos & disorder ;
All said & done, the victors were Australians,
& the vanquished, unfortunately, were the poor Indians.
AN APOLOGY 26/03/03
On 23rd night, I called you two a name,
out of sheer dejection, depression, frustration;
I now, duly & heartily apologise for the same
& again regard you with deep admiration!
About your brilliant performance in the World Cup,
there’s absolutely no trace of doubt;
That we lost the finals, was only a matter of luck;
Multifactorial, was the cause of our rout!
I have always, of you, been an ardent admirer;
I have always regarded you with reverent respect;
I now beg your pardon, for my outburst earlier,
which was an example of, “in a teapot, tempest”!
Congratulations! To both of you scintillating “esses”,
Sachin & Saurav, which are the worthy names;
I really love to see, on the screen, your fair faces,
& wish you good luck in all future games!
To you, my darling Sachin Tendulkar,
To you, the heartthrob of fans in millions,
To you, “of the tournament THE player”,
I send best wishes, in billions & trillions!
As to you, my dear Ganguly Saurav,
I offer special thanks & gratitude, a lot;
I utter your name with pride, i.e. “gaurav”,
Because to India, good reputation you’ve brought.
Posted on Novmeber 2009
THE NIAGARA FALLS
I had heard & read, a lot about them,
& also seen in the old mystery movie;
In person, as I now staringly visualized them,
I nearly fainted at their pristine beauty!
The scene was fantastic! The harmony was divine!
I saw Mother Nature in her full gorgeous glory!
As Niagara plunged from the mountain to the ravine,
the ancient waters thundered, white & hoary!
The noise was deafening, the vision enchanting,
the wind fast blowing, on that winter morn!
The panoramic view of melted glaciers descending,
made me feel insignificant, lonely & forlorn !
As millions of gallons of water gushed down
in endless continuum of sparkling white flow,
the froth & spray created a scintillating crown,
on the river head, which in the sun, did glow!
The waves in the waters farther downstream,
the eddies & currents & little whirlpools,
created a feeling as though walking in a dream,
with fishes in colours, rushing in schools!
The crowds that thronged merrily, in the foyer,
romped & frolicked as they stood in long queues.
I thought of God, the creator & the destroyer
who blessed this earth with His mystical Muse!
ON THE CLEAR WATER BEACH
It was on a cold, calm, sunlit day,
that we set out to see the "clear water beach".
The exhileration I experienced, I cannot say
in words; its description is beyond my reach !
As we walked on the shore, barefeet in sand,
a flock of Royal Terns hovered overhead;
I watched their plumage, shining & grand,
the ebony black caps & the bills bright red!
The breakers rose up many feet high,
to splash down softly in frothy ripples;
the white clouds tore across the sky,
& the wind made sounds like soft, low whistles !
Everywhere on the sands, bright canopies jutted,
under which small families lay down at ease;
Some others, in the deeps, happily yachted;
the boats resembling, a gaggle of large geese!
People in swimsuits & children in shorts,
basked in the sun & swam in the shallows;
A few went for skiing & other water sports
while I lay on my back watching the swallows !
As dusk fell, & the horizon turned dark,
the revelers wound up, to reluctantly leave;
We too hauling, our paraphernalia to the car park,
wished the gulls goodbye, & a long sigh did I heave!
COLORS OF FALL
It was on a trip to the Grandfather Mountains,
that I found, of foliage, many colourful fountains,
which made me, in ecstasy, fully drenched,
& on returning, my heart was totally wrenched !
The range of colours, like the arc of a rainbow,
left me stunned, spellbound, speechless with awe !
From the car, I stared, gaped & dazedly gazed,
at millions of trees that swept by as we raced !
From emerald green to jade green to aventurine green,
to golden & canary yellow with a metallic sheen,
to ochre to rust & to salmon pink & scarlet
the vivid hues blazed, like jewels in a casket !
My mind thirstily drank all the scenic beauty
of Mother Nature diligently doing her duty !
The misty fog lifted to make way for sun beams,
that made water shimmer, in the scores of streams !
The dew on the grass blades disappeared as we drove
along the snaky road that straddled the grove
& led to a landmark, "Blue Ridge Parkway", to wit,
but notice I did, that there was nothing blue about it !
The fallen brown leaves that covered the ground
& numbered in billions, made a rustling sound,
as we, in the wintry weather, strode over around,
among all natural hills & an occasional mound !
Miles upon miles, in never-ending stretches,
the magnificent Maples & Birches & Beeches,
stood in an elegant, graceful, stately stature,
bowing with the wind, in a friendly gesture!
The wind was harsh as we sat on a rough bench,
to satisfy our hunger, & to, our thirst quench.
Unfortunately there was a strong, sickening stench
from a dead animal rotting in the nearby trench !
We ambled & rambled, in the animal park,
but found to our dismay, the reality stark,
that though flora abounded, fauna were but few,
or perhaps, just had disappeared from our view !
Later, in the evening, as the sun was about to fall,
we reached a picturesque place - the small waterfall;
Lastly, on our way back, heard music by Leo Fall,
& thus ended our trip to see the colours of fall!